Wednesday, February 11, 2009

21 Secret Agent



She had to tell him. No other option existed.

Lynn Hana Alexander straightened her spine, licked her lip and opened her mouth. No words emerged. She swallowed and tried again. Nothing but the tinkle of silverware on china dishes, and the occasional burble of laughter interrupted the quiet murmurs in the restaurant. Damn it. You’re both adults. Just spit it out. Sipping her wine, she studied her fiancĂ© across the white linen-covered table.

Rob had just taken a bite of his seared Kobe steak and chewed with eyes closed. The candle between them illuminated the smile on his lips. If she said anything now, he’d choke.

She turned away from the serenity of his face and looked around. Couples leaned toward each other, shared bites, and sipped wine in the softly shadowed dining room of Amor La Chez. Waiters glided by, performing a ballet set to live piano music. Lynn drained her wineglass.

How on earth did you tell someone you were a shape-shifting dragon in a place voted Houston’s most romantic restaurant? If only they could’ve talked earlier at her apartment. But Rob had arrived late and rushed her out so as not to miss the reservations. Then, he’d talked about their new account and business on the drive over. Truth be told, she’d lost her nerve and had been happy to let him prattle.
Rob’s blue eyes met hers. He swallowed and smacked his lips.“Sublime.” His gaze dropped to her plate and a frown creased his brow.


  1. Excellent. How would you tell someone you're a shape-shifting dragon? To be honest, why would she want to? She'll chase him away.

    This sounds like a delightful chick lit. I'd read on to see if she goes through with the devastating news. I also want to see how she must live her life out as part dragon.

  2. I like Lynn instantly. The description is great, the style/voice intriguing. Hooked!

  3. I loved the unexpectedness of the shape-shifting dragon line. I'm not into fantasy, but I do love chick-lit, so the voice worked for me.

  4. What a vivid sense of place, conveyed through unusual senses -- sound and taste. I loved her dilemma. How on earth did you tell someone you were a shape-shifting dragon in a place voted Houston’s most romantic restaurant? And I know just how it feels to know you have to say something, but somehow, the words never come out. :)

    I would keep reading.

  5. I like Lynn, and I really like the voice here. Not quite so sure about Rob, who strikes me as a bit of a boor. What kind of man smacks his lips during dinner at Houston's most romantic restaurant? Is he wearing his hat indoors, too? AND he prattles! Lord, how I loath men who prattle. How on earth did an apparently intelligent woman with an obvious sense of humor get roped into agreeing to marry that clod? ;-)

    You have a great way of evoking atmosphere with the senses, and your wry wit is charming. I'd have to read more. :-)

  6. This is great. I loved it and I'm hooked. The part about her being a shape shifting dragon took me by surprise.

    I agree that the bloke sounds like a bit of a bore, smacking his lips in a romantic restaurant, but great characterisation. Maybe that was the effect you wanted.

    I would definitely read on.

  7. Good job! You've set the scene, created story questions, made me like Lynn, and made me laugh with the "How one earth..." line. I would turn the page enthusiastically.

    And disorderly - too funny :)

  8. I'm hooked. Great voice.

  9. Really liked this. good character voice, good tension, and a very interesting set up. Good job!

  10. The opening is a little waffly for me (tell him already, Lynn!) but the concept is great. This kind of chick-litty Urban Fantasy seems to be in right now, and I very much appreciate that you're stepping outide the vampire/werewolf box. I don't think I've ever heard of a UF story with a dragon.

    Good luck with it! I doubt this is the last we'll hear of your story.

  11. I like this, and I don’t even read chick-lit. Your writing is good, giving us a definite sense of place without disrupting the narrative, and this beginning has bite and wit (“If she said anything now, he’d choke”). This is just a nitpick, but the second line seemed a little awkward, which jarred me out of the otherwise smooth flow of your writing. Maybe “She had to tell him. There was no other option” would work better? Also, in the last line, do you need to say “a frown creased his brow” or would it be equally effective to say “he frowned”?

    Overall, this seems very polished, and has definite potential to segue into an interesting story. Well done!

  12. Fantastic. Great voice. Great scenic descriptions. Beautiful writing overall.

    I absolutely loved . . . 'His gaze dropped to her plate and a frown creased his brow'. I can just imagine him wondering why Lynn is not eating the obviously expensive meal in front of her. Little dollar signs are probably exploding in his head.

    I would definitely want to read more. Oh, and I loved 'if she said anything now, he'd choke'. Very evocative.

    Best of luck and keep writing.

  13. Nice job! Good voice, great scene-setting. I could see and feel everything right along with Lynn. I'd read more.

  14. I really like it! I'm not overly fond of the lack of names in the very first line (personal pet peeve) but I DID like how you lead up to what she has to tell Rob. ;) That's hilarious.

    I'd certainly read on.


  15. Not hooked. Sorry! To me this is a rather mundane scene told in a mundane way when she has a really big truth to reveal.

    Surely there's a better way to open this novel?

    I'm worried that I don't know Lynn or Rob so I'm not invested in what she tells or doesn't tell here.

  16. I like it.
    Fav line: If I told him now, he'd choke.
    I'd read on.

  17. Overall, I like it and would read on. I have a couple of thoughts: you reference "lip" or "lips" 3 times in these opening words, perhaps cut one of them; and "Lynn" is a bit outdated of a name. Perhaps something a little more timeless?

  18. Thanks everyone for your comments and crits. This is the first time I've participated in the Secret Agent contest and all your feedback has made it a fun event to participate. I don't think I've ever logged on to the internet so obsessively.